With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is amazing how the weeks seem to zoom by. Before you know it, the kids need 6 dozen cookies for school, you have your office secret Santa, and your in laws are rapping on the front door at 7 am on Christmas morning.

This year, be one step ahead of the crowd, with these easy and innovative holiday tips from Summer Fresh. Learn how to plan the perfect “old fashioned” tree trimming party.

The Tree

This is the focus of your whole event, so make sure your tree is set to shine. An authentic evergreen will fill your home with that authentic smell of the holidays. However, if you are concerned about children or household pets ingesting or injuring themselves on the loose needles, an imitation tree can be used in place of the real thing.

The Décor

Get back to basics of tree décor with popcorn and cranberry garland, an easy and creative activity the whole family can become involved in. Simply pop 2-3 bags of microwave popcorn and allow too cool. Thread fishing wire, and alternate one kernel of corn and one cranberry until you form a colourful garland that will drape over your tree!

Stores now carry a wide array of LED lights in a variety of colours. Choose subtle whites, silvers and reds to remain consistent with your theme.

The Ambiance

Amaze your guests as soon as they step through the front door. Infuse the air with the smell of the holidays by simmering cinnamon sticks on the stove in a pot of boiling water. Start this ½ hour before the guests arrive, and make sure to check the pot frequently throughout the night to add additional water.

Pop in a holiday themed cd, or download those classic favourites to your iPod, hook up to a docking station with speakers for a never ending array of songs.

Create a signature drink for your party guests. This can be a punch, cocktail or flavoured eggnog. Create creative recipe cards for your guests so they can pick up a copy on their way home.

The Food

The food is often the center focus of your entire event. Determine if you are going to have simple finger foods and appetizers, or a sit down formal dinner.

Appetizers Only: Tickle your guest’s taste buds with an exciting array of tempting treats! Take a spin on the traditional, and create your own theme. A way to spice up your table is to introduce “flavours” of the world. Create a variety of appetizers with ethnic flair! Try Indian vegetarian samosa’s, topped with the exotic flavour of Summer Fresh Bombay Bruschetta, Jamaican beef patties dipped in Summer Fresh Tzaiki, Greek mini falafel patties with smothered in Summer Fresh Edamamme Hummus, French brie topped with Summer Fresh Cranberry Bruschetta and Italian gnocchi tossed with Summer Fresh Cilantro Chili Pestoz. This variety will allow your guests to explore the world, without ever leaving your kitchen.

Formal Dinner: A complete dinner takes a bit more planning, but also allows you to explore your culinary skills. Begin by setting a dinner theme. If you want to stick with the traditional, prepare a turkey with potatoes, Summer Fresh Cranberry Bruschetta, Summer Fresh (pre packaged) Seven Grain Salad, in place of stuffing and vegetables. However, in order to reduce your time in the kitchen, host a potluck instead, and assign each guest a traditional dish to bring, but with their own creative touch. This can mean a turkey with a Summer Fresh Arugula PestozTM glaze, sweet mashed potatoes with rosemary and Summer Fresh Original Hummus, or Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto mixed with Summer Fresh Butternut Squash Dip for a creamy dish. As for dessert, make this a little bit more informal. Set up a buffet of sweets with a coffee bar which will allow guests to mingle while they snack.

The Main Event: Trimming the Tree!: After dinner, gather your guests around your empty tree and start decorating. Start with the homemade popcorn & cranberry garland, followed by twinkling lights. Now, allow each guest to place an ornament on the tree. As each guest completes this, have them share their favourite holiday memory, a line from a classic carol, or another interactive activity. To add a personal touch, have each guest bring their own ornament with them. After the tree is decorated, snap a picture and send it via e-mail to everyone for an instant keepsake.

Favours: At the end of the night, ensure the guests receive a memorable keepsake of the party, including the wonderful food that was sampled. Stack three flavours of Summer Fresh Dips that were used in preparing each dish, wrap with cellophane, and top it off with a festive bow. Add your own special touch by adding a cheese spreader, or set of napkin rings.

Send your guests home with their own taste of Summer Fresh! Choose from dozens of great meal idea recipe cards at www.summerfresh.com, print out on card stock, laminate and send one home with each guest.

These are a few simple ideas that can make your holiday party the event of the season. With a little bit of planning and creativity, transform your home into a place of whimsy and festive cheer.




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Happy Holidays on a Budget from Summer Fresh Salads inc.
Happy Holidays on a Budget